Local Emergency Planning Committee

The Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act, or EPCRA, was passed as Title III of the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986 (SARA) on October 17, 1986. This was almost two years after a chemical accident in Bhopal, India that killed thousands, injured thousands more and received world-wide attention. Less catastrophic incidents in Institute, West Virginia and elsewhere reinforced that chemical disasters could happen in the United States.
EPCRA provides for comprehensive chemical emergency preparedness and response. This involves the coordinated efforts of industry, the local fire department, Local Emergency Planning Committee and the State Emergency Response Commission. In many instances similar local or state organizations already existed. Some of these have evolved into current LEPC’s or SERC’s. Congress placed USEPA in an oversight role of the EPCRA Program under the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act. USEPA has built upon the SERC and LEPC relationship in other areas including the Chemical Emergency Preparedness Program (CEPP) aimed at helping industry and communities to meet their responsibilities related to potential chemical emergencies.
Emergency Planning was created as Chapter 3750 of the Ohio Revised Code (ORC) in December 1988. The federal regulations under EPCRA are listed in 40 CFR, Part 355. Ohio’s implementing regulations can be found as Chapter 3750 of the Ohio Administrative Code (OAC).  EPCRA outlines the composition, jurisdiction and responsibilities of the SERC and LEPC’s and defines four basic types of reporting.

These are:
1.      EPA Notification and Emergency planning (ORC Section 3750.05)
2.      Emergency Spill/Release Notification (ORC Section 3750.06)
3.      Chemical List and Annual reporting (ORC Sections 3750.07 and .08)
4.      Toxic Chemical Release Reporting (TRI 313/3751)
The ORC Chapter 3750 defines the composition of the SERC and outlines its responsibilities. It further defines the LEPC’s and outlines their responsibilities, to include positions and officers. Emergency Planning also provides for the types of reporting and other provisions needed.
The Ohio Administrative Code contains “Rules” adopted to implement the provisions of ORC Chapter 3750. Rule 3750-1-02 describes the purpose of the rules as follows. “The purpose of these rules is to establish the Commission, and the Committees and Emergency Districts to implement, administer and enforce in conjunction with the USEPA, Ohio EPA and Local Fire Department, the Federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-to- Know Act in this state”  The rules help to further explain the intent of the law. They are developed as mandated by the law and as needed to clarify the program.
The law provides (in ORC Section 3750.03) that the LEPC is the local emergency planning body of an emergency planning district as established by the SERC. In Ohio, a district, according to ORC Section 3750.03(A) is defined as a County. The law allows two or more counties to form a joint emergency planning district. Members of the LEPC represent the various organizations, agencies, departments, facilities and or other groups within the district. Each member must realize that he or she represents their organization on the LEPC and that they are responsible for coordinating information and activities from the LEPC to their organization and for providing accurate feedback from their organization back to the LEPC.
The LEPC has many responsibilities, mandates and deadlines. The membership should organize to handle these various tasks by utilizing individual efforts, sub-committees, or contracted assistance. All personnel who have accepted membership on the LEPC have an obligation to the LEPC to become familiar with the various laws, rules, and other documents used in the EPCRA program in Ohio so they can contribute to the LEPC and fully represent their group or organization successfully on the LEPC.
The Medina County LEPC consists of 35 members who meet every other month on the first Thursday at 8:30am starting in January of each year.